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December 12, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

If our own blind brothers and sisters don’t insure our ability to access the results of all their accomplishments, then how on Earth can we expect the sighted to make anything accessible? The last couple of days have shown me once more that the vast majority of blind people simply are not switched on to the absolute importance of the need to insist on technology accessibility. We must ask first then insist if we must until the proper changes are made to allow our full participation. Sadly, from time to time, we must also call a blind brother or sister on the carpet when they do things without giving appropriate consideration for accessibility. Apparently, this basic, common sense stance is “militant”. We apparently must ask for accessibility, then just sit back if it doesn’t happen. It is apparently acceptable for our own people to take lead on projects and bring them to fruition without accomodating our own needs for equal access. No way, Jose! Militant or not, we must insist on the right thing at all times! The cold hard consequences of ignoring inaccessibility are just too numerous and terrible to mention at the present time. How can we switch the sighted on to the need for equal accessibility if most of our own people are totally clueless? How will we ever get mass accessibility by allowing others to pat us on the head and set us aside for bigger and better things? Though we happen to lack functioning eyes, we are people, too. It is high time we insist on our first class citizenship and our basic human rights when it comes to technology related products and services!

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2 opinions on “Militant!

  1. Deryl, You sir indeed are militant. You’ve got the NFB issms in you man. I hope you fail in your endeverr with PMN.

  2. Hi Darrell. I heartily laud your efforts Darrell. I’ve got a perfect example of something which was given very little accessibility considerations. That is the VR system in this country, and specifically, my state’s VR system. It has become quite apparent to me over the years I’ve been a VR client, that way too many of us are being left on the side lines–those of us who just happen to have additional disabilities. I don’t want to brag or anything, but take my situation for example. I was born blind, having had only light perception since that time. I am now almost 32 years old. In addition to being blind, I have a slight learning disability and a slight problem with motor coordination. The only job I held outside of high school, was a receptionist position with a nonprofit organization. One of my responsibilities was to answer and route phone calls. I got compliments several times from callers to our office, who said that I spoke very clearly and very intelligibly. Not only that, but they also said that I was probably one of the best receptionists the organization had ever had. I very much appreciated it when people told me that. I also happened to have faired extremely well with typing from dictation. I did this for the organization, and I also transcribed a book about the Holocaust. So I see absolutely no reason for having been unemployed for the better part of five years. I happen to have several visually-impaired friends who are very successfully employed, and yes a few of these friends do in fact have additional disabilities. I really would like to see some truly positive change with regard to this unfair and unjust practice of singling out a certain few of us, sooner rather than later.

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